Affordable Preschool Options Close to Home
One of the many challenges for parents today is to find an affordable preschool. With both parents having to work full time to make ends meet, providing safe childcare for their children is an expensive problem in many states. This has led to a phenomenon called satellite babies. This is where babies of immigrant parents are sent back to their home countries to be cared for by grandparents or another relative. Often they are sent by their parents at a very early age (sometimes before their first birthday) and are then only returned when they are four or five years old. Many babies are sent home to preserve their culture, however one of the main reasons is a lack of affordable preschool care.
The Economic Policy Institute has found that in 33 states and Washington D.C, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state public college tuition. The cost of preschool childcare is often so high that it is near impossible for many people to pay for it even while working full-time. For example, in New York the average preschool costs $14,144 per annum while the full-time minimum wage salary is $18,720 a year. This means that a minimum-wage worker in New York would need to work full time for thirty-nine weeks, or from January to September, just to pay for child care for one child. Sending their babies home is the only way immigrant parents can afford to live in the United States. They may be working at two or more jobs with long hours and have no way to afford childcare.
It has been found that these satellite babies experience trauma and difficulties in adjusting when they return to their parents. Many do not understand why they had to leave their grandparents and cannot relate to or bond with their parents. Parents have also missed out on vital years of learning parenting skills and suffer the heartbreak of separation from their babies. As these children grow up they can become disconnected and confused as their early upbringing has been so vastly different to the life with their parents. This leads to many tragic circumstances later on in life for families forced to satellite their children.
Fortunately in Florida, we have the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program or VPK. This is a free prekindergarten program for four year olds who were born on or before September 1 and who reside in Florida. This program offers children an age-appropriate curriculum that focuses on early literacy and accountability. It also ensures manageable class sizes with qualified instructors so that your child gets quality education and care. The program offers a lot of flexibility to parents and VPK providers alike. Both public and private preschool providers offer parents several program options to choose from. VPK providers are also able to structure the hours per day and days per week to meet the required number of instructional hours as they want. The VPK program gives parents the opportunity to send their children to preschool and save for future education costs.
From birth to age 5 are considered the most important years in a child’s development. This is the time where they learn to the skills to become well-adjusted adults. This time is vitally important to promote stability and mentally healthy adults. Providence Children’s Academy is a VPK provider that strives to give your child a stimulating and nurturing setting for them to learn and grow in these formative years.